How much has NGOs’ fundraising capacity improved?

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The past three years have seen heightened levels of uncertainty around the world. However, Chinese NGOs have continued to improve in a number of ways. What changes have NGOs experienced concerning fundraising capacity — and what new opportunities and challenges have emerged?


Firstly, NGOs’ revenues have fluctuated slightly, with the portion of government-purchased services and foundation grants decreasing. In 2020, the total amount of non-government donations was 152 billion yuan ($22 billion). The number went down to 145 billion yuan in 2021, a 4.7 percent fall.


The trend in donations corresponds with the trend in NGO income. 12.74 percent of NGOs had over 10 million yuan of income in 2019. In 2021, the number increased to 25.29 percent. However, it decreased to 20 percent in 2022. The change directly led to a decrease in staff working for NGOs.


Secondly, the fundraising capacity of organizations still needs to improve. The lack of creativity and innovation in fundraising approaches has become a common weakness of Chinese NGOs.


According to a survey in 2022, 92 percent of organizations consider fundraising capacity building as urgent and important. The top challenge is the improvement of capacity, followed by a lack of innovative fundraising methods. 


The digitalization of the fundraising process can potentially solve the dilemma many NGOs are facing. Tencent foundation has already funded several digitalization and donation projects.


Lastly, although the frequency of fundraising training has increased, its impact is still limited.


According to statistics, the percentage of organizations that only conducted one fundraising training session throughout 2022 was 26.51 percent, down from 22 percent in 2019. Meanwhile, organizations that conducted more than three training sessions increased by 72.14 percent. 


But when it came to the impact of the training, 55.3 percent of surveyed organizations did not submit a positive response, which is the same as in 2019. 


There are three things for organization managers to bear in mind for improving fundraising capacity. One is to focus on long-term goals and development. The second is to conduct systematic training and constantly reflect and improve. And finally, NGO leaders should start cultivating an atmosphere of lifelong learning and team learning within the organization to encourage innovation.